What information and support is available to depository libraries for their UN collection management?
Last Updated: Jul 30, 2021
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library maintains a website with specific information about the UN Depository Library Programme, including a list of training resources for depository librarians.
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the Library of the United Nations Office at Geneva periodically organize special training seminars for depository librarians.
Depository libraries also receive up-to-date information on United Nations activities and deposit-related matters via regular e-mail communications. If you wish to receive those communications about this programme, please contact us at email@example.com
Print materials sent to depository libraries:
Since 2013, United Nations Headquarters (New York) is no longer disseminating printed UN publications & documents issued in New York to UN depository libraries. Other UN duty stations, including the UN Office in Geneva, the UN Office in Vienna, the UN Office in Nairobi, and the 5 UN regional commissions, continue to disseminate selected UN material to UN depository libraries, either in print or in digital format.
The UN iLibrary was launched in February 2016 and one UN depository library in each UN Member State, normally the national library, has been granted full free online access to UN sales publications.
From the date of designation as a depository library and until 2012, UN depository libraries received the following UN material, depending on the type of deposit (print plus or regular):
A "Print Plus deposit" included printed Official Records of main organs of the United Nations, most sales publications regardless of place of issuance, all periodicals normally available by subscription, masthead documents (i.e., working documents) of the regional commission located in the area of the library, as well as all masthead documents and publications placed in general distribution, records of plenary meetings of the Security Council.
A "Regular deposit" included Official Records of main organs of the United Nations, most sales publications regardless of place of issuance, all periodicals normally available by subscription and masthead documents (i.e., working documents of the regional commission located in the area of the library.
The deposit entitlement commences with the date of designation, is not retroactive and is limited to one copy, normally in one of the official languages.
For additional information, please contact the Coordinator of the UN Depository Library Programme.
Languages of depository materials distributed:
A United Nations deposit is available in the six official languages of the United Nations, namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Normally, the deposit entitlement is limited to one language choice per library.
It should be noted that UN publications are not always issued in all six official languages. If the material is not available in the language chosen by the depository library, it is provided in English.
Options for organizing a UN depository collection:
A depository library may choose any system it prefers, including standard classifications, as long as the collection is kept in good order and under adequate bibliographic control. Detailed recommendations are contained in “Instructions for depository libraries receiving United Nations material” (UN doc. ST/LIB/13/Rev.5).
United Nations sales publications can be arranged by sales category, thus achieving a broad subject classification, and by year within each sales category. If a chronological arrangement is preferred, UN sales publications can be arranged by year and by sales category for each year.
It is recommended that United Nations official documents, including the official records, be arranged by organ and session/year. This can be achieved by filing the documents alphabetically by series symbol, then numerically by the individual document number. More information about how UN documentation is structured and numbered can be found in our research guide “UN Documentation: Overview” (link below).
United Nations periodicals that do not bear document symbols should be classed and filed separately.
Claiming missing UN depository materials:
A depository library should allow a reasonable amount of time to pass before submitting a claim for missing depository items. UN depository materials are shipped at the most economical rates available (by surface or sea) and take time to arrive. After a reasonable amount of time has passed, a depository library can file a claim to request missing materials.
A request for documents PS.16 form must provide all the necessary information (see link below to download the form & a sample PS.16 filled form to guide you).
After preparing a PS.16 claim form, a depository library should send an electronic copy by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (with the institution name and DL- number in the subject field of the message) and it will be forwarded to the proper UN distribution center for processing.
If you have any questions about claiming UN materials, please contact us, by email to email@example.com, before preparing your claim form.
Withdrawing and/or weeding materials from a depository collection:
Judicious weeding of UN depository collections is permitted. Weeding or de-selection exercises should be carried out in consultation with other UN depository libraries in the country in order to ensure that at least one depository library per country maintains a comprehensive collection of UN material.
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.